I am on the way to Washington DC for meetings today and have been reading the Year-in-Review articles and blogs. It is a pretty depressing way to pass a flight. I have never been a glass-half-empty kind of guy. But after reading enough year-end evaluations I could come away thinking that the only possible point of view is that the world is going to hell in a hand-basket at light speed.
Despite the doom and gloom, I decided to look for positive signs as a focus for the new-year. And with my own first blog post I want to share a few of my favorites. So, not in denial of our challenges and not with my head in the sand (or anywhere else, thanks) I offer a few signs that we are not altogether screwed going into a new decade. There are people and programs that are changing lives in the way that they do things. Spend 10 minutes reading about one or more of these programs- or better yet, pick one and get involved- and you might start the year with a more hopeful attitude.
Do you have a favorite program that is doing well by doing good? An organization that lights you heart and leads the way in how they do what they do? Post it in the comments and let’s brighten everyone’s new year a little.
Happy New Year!
City Year– Do you think that the current generation of teens and young adults comprised solely of X-Box addicted slackers? Have a look at this program in which 17-24 year old young adults volunteer a year of their life for public service. By mentoring in schools and being a stable role model for kids who might otherwise drop out, these program volunteers are providing resource where it is needed most- right on the ground adn right in the lives of the kids who need it most. And from all reports, it has as much impact on the young adults who spend a year of their lives in service as it does for those they serve.
FIRST – Go listen to this NPR piece from Talk of the Nation. Neal Conan interviews Dean Kamen, prodigious inventor and founder of First. Their vision is “To transform our culture by creating a world where science and technology are celebrated and where young people dream of becoming science and technology heroes.” FIRST uses terms like “gracious professionalism” to create a community fiercely dedicated to fulfilling that mission. Along the way they enroll thousands of engineers in mentoring teams of kids in a robotics competition and foster a sense of fierce camaraderie as competing teams mentor each other.
KIVA – This one is not new news, but I am always amazed at the numbers of people who do not know about KIVA- a microlending website. Your extra few bucks can change the life of someone around the world: not through charity, but by making a loan. To date, about 281,000 loans totaling over $113 million have been made to people in need of modest capital to change their lives. And you can lend as little as $25 to help fill out a loan. Payback rate? Over 98%! For amounts that are minuscule to anyone likely to be reading this, lives are changed daily. Kiva is Entelechy Partners’ primary service organization to support for 2010. Here is a link to our newly formed Kiva team.
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